Time Machine

20. Januar 2015

Yes­ter­day such a litt­le thing my life hung that on often mar­vel that I escaped so easi­ly. Had not the rif­le of the lea­der of the par­ty swung from its fas­tenings bes­i­de his sadd­le in such a way as to strike against the butt of his gre­at metal-shod spe­ar I should have snuf­fed out without ever knowing that death was near me. But the litt­le sound cau­sed me to turn, and the­re upon me, not ten feet from my bre­ast, was the point of that huge spe­ar, a spe­ar for­ty feet long, tip­ped with gle­a­ming metal, and held low at the side of a moun­ted repli­ca of the litt­le devils I had been watching.

But how puny and harm­less they now loo­ked bes­i­de this huge and ter­ri­fic incar­na­ti­on of hate, of ven­ge­an­ce and of death. The man hims­elf, for such I may call him, was ful­ly fif­teen feet in height and, on Earth, would have weig­hed some four hund­red pounds. He sat his mount as we sit a hor­se, grasping the animal’s bar­rel with his lower lim­bs, while the hands of his two right arms held his immense spe­ar low at the side of his mount; his two left arms were out­stret­ched late­ral­ly to help pre­ser­ve his balan­ce, the thing he rode having neit­her brid­le or reins of any descrip­ti­on for gui­d­ance.

And his mount! How can earth­ly words descri­be it! It towe­red ten feet at the shoul­der; had four legs on eit­her side; a broad flat tail, lar­ger at the tip than at the root, and which it held strai­ght out behind while run­ning; a gaping mouth which split its head from its snout to its long, mas­si­ve neck.

Like its mas­ter, it was ent­i­re­ly devoid of hair, but was of a dark sla­te color and excee­ding smooth and glos­sy. Its bel­ly was white, and its legs shaded from the sla­te of its shoul­ders and hips to a vivid yel­low at the feet. The feet them­sel­ves were hea­vi­ly pad­ded and nail­less, which fact had also con­tri­bu­t­ed to the noi­sel­ess­ness of their approach, and, in com­mon with a mul­ti­pli­ci­ty of legs, is a cha­rac­te­ris­tic fea­ture of the fau­na of Mars. The hig­hest type of man and one other ani­mal, the only mam­mal exis­ting on Mars, alo­ne have well-for­med nails, and the­re are abso­lute­ly no hoo­fed ani­mals

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